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Fans cheer and wave flags as the Canadian delegation (lower right) parades during the opening ceremony of the XVth Winter Olympic Games 13 February 1988 in Calgary.

JONATHAN UTZ/AFP/Getty Images

The City of Calgary is formally exploring a bid to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.

The announcement came Friday as the Canadian Olympic Committee established a special committee to assist interested cities in building successful bids.

The COC contacted Canada's seven largest cities in March 2016 to assess the interest and potential for hosting the 2026 Winter Games or 2028 Summer Games and asked interested cities to reply by Thursday.

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Calgary, which hosted the 1988 Winter Games, followed through on that request, committing up to $5 million on Monday to study a potential 2026 bid. Calgary's decision window is 14 months.

The COC must submit the name of a Canadian 2026 host city to the IOC by September 2017. The IOC will announce the winner in 2019.

The 1988 legacy combined with the IOC's willingness to scale back costs make a Calgary bid seem attainable.

Rome, Paris, Budapest and Los Angeles are finalists for the 2024 Summer Games. The host city will be announced next year.

Vancouver's bid for the 2010 Winter Games came in at $34 million in 2003.

The 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary were the first to make money thanks in part to a record $309-million American television rights deal.

Endowment funds of $66 million allowed the Calgary Olympic Development Association, now WinSport, to maintain and upgrade legacy venues in the 28 years since the Calgary Games.

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The IOC reportedly thinks highly of Calgary, perhaps more so now that it courts bids.

A city that wins a bid now also commits to putting on a pair of multi-sport Games in less than six weeks as the Paralympics follow on the heels of the Olympic Games.

The Olympic Oval, Canmore Nordic Centre and Canada Olympic Park could be Olympic venues again with differing levels of refurbishment and renovation. The ski jump is problematic, however, as COP's is obsolete.

Calgary's 33-year-old Saddledome and 56-year-old McMahon Stadium are not assets in a bid.

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